For children Pre-Kindergarten through 4th grade.
Godly Play is a discovery model of learning where children are provided the space to experience God through hearing scriptures stories. Godly Play is a worship experience with lots of play and interaction.
Godly Play is a way of engaging a Bible story through imagination, art, and storytelling with children of all ages. It is an approach to sharing Gospel stories where the word of God meets the imagination of both children and adults through story and play. Through simple non-descript wooden figures with gentle and smooth lines the Bible characters in each story play out before everyone as the storyteller begins: “Once there was someone who came to the Sea of Galilee . . . He said many amazing things and did such wonderful things that people followed him . . . He came close to the sick . . . He encouraged the poor . . . And he enjoyed the children . . .”1
Godly Play fosters trust, curiosity, hospitality, ownership, and respect. The goal of this storytelling technique is Christian growth through an inviting encounter with Gospel stories.
In Godly Play the words of our faith are used in a setting of play. The thought behind the small characters used is that the real story is already in the children’s minds, being blessed by the Holy Spirit in their imaginations. The adult may offer a story but the children will do the real work of playing with the story in their minds and expressing their engagement with their imagination through artistic expression.
Today little imagination is needed to perceive the characters on television, a gaming system, or computer games. The entertainment industry provides all necessary details; nothing is left to the imagination. The figures used in Godly Play invite the imagination to fill in the details of feelings, moods, thoughts, and actions. The presenters in Godly Play are partners in the story; they are the means to the story. The presenter is not the authority, the Bible story is the authority; the story is always the Bible and God’s interaction with God’s people. Bible stories are limited to narrative stories; no propositional truths are taught other than God’s love for God’s people and the people’s response in faith, or not, to being loved by the Creator. Implicit in this sharing style is a circular relationship between God, the storyteller, and the children. The Bible story is in the middle of the circle and is the dynamic through which the other three move.
After each story is shared, a time of wondering together follows: “I wonder how the poor and the sick feel so near to Jesus . . . I wonder why Peter and Andrew would leave their fishing nets and follow this person . . . I wonder . . .”
Ask the children what they wondered about; I think you will like their answers.